B.

Update to Guest Reviews

Dear Community,

One of the biggest topics of conversation we see in the community is around our Guest Reviews System. We thought it would be helpful to share a new update with you here. 

Because of the slowing of travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, properties are not receiving new reviews at the same rate as earlier - while continuing to lose reviews, which normally expire after two years. As the review pool is reduced for newer partners with fewer reviews, this could impact their ability to convert returning demand - with guests also having less information available to them to help choose a booking. 

You may have seen your fellow partners mention this problem in the Community. Many of you have expressed support for the idea of saving these reviews from expiring. 

We researched many options and found that extending the period of a review’s validity by one year provides the most benefit and prevents partners from being negatively impacted by the slower rate of published reviews. To prevent you from being negatively affected by a loss of guest reviews, Booking.com will be gradually extending the lifetime of your existing reviews from two to three years. This means reviews that were about to expire as of July 31, 2020, will remain for an extra year. For example, a review submitted on 1 August 2018, would normally have expired on 31 July 2020, but it will not expire until 31 July 2021, as a result of this change. 

You can read more about this change here in the Partner Help Centre. 

This is the latest step in improving our guest review system – stay tuned for more.

Sergei and the Community Team

+4
41 Replies
705 Views

3
Désirée van Schaick

Thank you for the update Sergei. Is there any news on the new rating system that is flawed and is concerning a lot of the property owners?

I have tried posting the ways the system should be improved but my mail got removed - there was nothing improper about it. 

- if you want to keep the overall experience rating, at least make it clear to guests that this does not mean the overall experience of the holiday but the overall experience of the venue, so they won't downgrade us because it rained, because they couldn't find a restaurant (when there are lots around) etc. 

- the rating of the subcategories should be a 1-10 system as well, otherwise every grade goes down to 7.5 as soon as the overall experience rating is lower then 10.

When your team has been working so hard to extend the lifetime of reviews, maybe they should have directed their energy in the fact that ratings are a lot lower with the new system. I recently had guests who rated 4 x 10 and 2 x 7.5 yet their overall rating was a 7...

+12
2 months ago
2
Richard Osborn

Yes, the new system is not working for anyone. Yet Booking.com says no one is complaining about it. So... nothing is being done about it.

Yet the damage from the scores being much lower than last year is REALLY hurting my business. Since we the owners pay commissions to Booking.com(that's what pays your paycheck). Maybe it should go back to the old way. IF IT'S NOT BROKEN WHY FIX IT!!!!

+10
2 months ago
3
Désirée van Schaick

I read in another thread that Booking customer services receive thousands of phone calls and messages a day with complaints, so if Booking says they are not complaining that seems untrue to me. 

+9
2 months ago
9
Sharonpowney

There are a huge amount of comments on the forum where people are shocked at the way it works.  Given that most of the problem is that the Review is taking our score DOWN I can't believe nothing is being done.  In the end no one will have good scores over 9 and that will look bad for booking.com

Richard - sorry to see your comment that you are stopping using booking.com because of this.  I haven't replied directly because then other people won't see it as shown as answered.

Sergei - surely you can do a search on the forum for issues raised and see how many there are.

+3
2 months ago
3
Désirée van Schaick

Sergei knows about the issues and the amount of complaints.

There are several discussion threads about this topic and I have been active on some of them.  I have seen loads and loads of people giving examples of how this doesn't work for them. People ask Sergei directly when this is going to change, what Booking is going to do about it. He never replied.

Then, when I posted that Sergei obviously had given up on the thread, I got an immediate reply why I would think such a thing. His argument was that this is just a medium for colleagues to share experiences, even though at the introduction of that thread he clearly states that the forum is a tool for Booking to receive valuable feedback. 

+5
2 months ago
10
M Adamopoulou

Dear Sergei,

Highly appreciate the extension period in review system....it will help us newbies very much....

Wish guests understood  better the way they should review properties for the benefit of all...

Wish everyone a splendid weekend...

+2
2 months ago
1
Gary and Amand…

Hello Sergi!  I can only add to other people’s comments about the review system.  Over the last few years we have improved our score year on year, to a nice 9.7.  This year we are still getting 10s all  the time for the individual ratings but overall scores of 8 and nine, which is obviously bringing down our average.  What is more infuriating that guests never put a negative comment to justify their overall score.  I actually feel that what you are doing is playing into the hands of the larger hotels at a huge cost to us smaller b and bs/chambre d’hotes (who need most help in the Covid climate) If this is not the case, please tell my why the individual ratings no longer count for anything.   I had one lady tell me it was too hot this week and although she gave us a full run of 10s, her overall score was 8....because of the heat 🙄. I feel once again, the little man has no power.   

+5
2 months ago
1
Millican Wendy

Ah yes, the heat, that could be why I have six categories all at 10/10 with an overall of 8/10.  This system is truly awful.

 

+5
2 months ago
1
Rodger MacKenz…

Hi Sergei,

So when is booking.com going to fix the review system as per what the partners actually want?

+6
2 months ago
1
Sunshine and W…

I see I am not alone with trying to deal with a nasty and untruthful guest review issue. Mine is a review that is filled with lies, but...they are allowed to post this nonesense. I have very high reviews..usually 10. But now..with this single 4.5 review...our score has dropped significantly, and I have no way to appeal it. Not fair, doesn't begin to address this. I am left to consider dropping Booking.com. Too bad.

 

Gary Haupt

 

+5
2 months ago
1
K&A Apartment

Same situation. For the last 3 years I've been getting a mark of 10 because I do everything possible to offer quality accommodation and a warm welcome.  As you say, we pay a high commission (the client pays nothing!) but we are not allowed to set our conditions for comments. I recently had a client who heavily damaged furniture and linen: New mattress (3 years old) burned - All bed linen was found burned with wax (candle) and cigarette holes. Wardrobe door dislodged, burnt pan, new bathroom linen stolen (carpet + towel), big bottle of hydroalcoholic gel stolen ...  Many other items have disappeared. NEVER before I had such a problem (deterioration and theft of articles) The fact that the client did not observe the conditions of the accommodation (non smoking apartment) should have prohibited access to the comments to this client. I have sent all the pictures to BOOKING and many exchanges with them - Nothing to do!

+4
2 months ago
2
Richard Osborn

LOL... I left Booking.com. No problems with my reviews now!!! It's not costing me 15% to have people leave unfair reviews. LOL

+5
2 months ago
1
Sunshine and W…

Are you able to share where you found a 'home'? ******* if that is better.

 

Gary

+1
2 months ago
2
Richard Osborn

We are doing direct booking through our website and that is it. We have been full every day since Aug 1.

+1
2 months ago
1
Sunshine and W…

Okay..thanks Richard. We have that as well as FB and yes..this year, we have many bookings from Canadians. It's the following years we feel we need to have a presence off-shore.

 

Thanks for you reply.

 

Gary

 

 

+1
2 months ago
1
Villa Cassuto …

It is really terrible and I'm getting tired. Altough every one knows people are starting to contact us direclty knowing exactly how much bookin is gayining

1 month ago
1
Sunshine and W…

I cannot understand why B . C is so reluctant to create a method, to allow Hosts to properly appeal a bad review. A proven track record indicates the lengths to which a Host has gone and continues to go to...and yet...no support.

Gary Haupt

+1
2 months ago
1
Michele Turrell

This new review system is not logical or fair. As other hosts have said, guests are able to leave a lower overall score which is lower than the scores given for the individual category scores.  When introduced, Booking.com advised that the new system would encourage higher scores from guests!  Another point regarding guests’ reviews is that if they leave no comment, hosts are unable to respond to a positive or negative review. Also, guests can leave a low score without giving reasons. This is not helpful for hosts addressing an issue if they don’t know what the issue is! Regarding the value for money score, it seems unfair that a guest can rate everything 10 but then score low on value for money...they knew the price when booking so if everything is worth a 10 how can they be allowed to score low for value for money?  Everything appears to accommodate guests being able to leave feedback, but not hosts who are actually paying for Booking.com’s services.  Please listen to the people who are paying for your services and stop the new unfair scoring system. 

 

+8
2 months ago
1
Sunshine and W…

Oh God...don't get me started on the location and value reviews. I have laid everything out in profile and pictures and even a video...and guests have this awesome power to lower the point score on things that are CLEARLY stated in descriptions.

 

Gary Haupt

+1
2 months ago
3
Désirée van Schaick

Just had a lower 'overall experience' rating from someone that seemed completely in love with our place. Comments were only positive but it wasn't a perfect ten because "the house is old and the soundproofing wasn't perfect".... 

Our house is almost 200 years old, which is clearly visible on photos and also mentioned in the description. Usually this is why guests choose to stay here,  cause its beautiful and has loads of charm. So no, soundproofing is not perfect. 

It is the 'overall experience' rating that gets our scores down every time. That and the score for location, which we cannot improve or change. It is so frustrating. 

+3
2 months ago
1
Elio Bucciantonio

I would propose Booking.com to adopt some small but significant improvements: 1) do not consider the lowest and the highest scores (as they used to do in the past) 2) allow hosts to review their guests (as Airbnb is actually doing) 3) the final score shall be automatically calculated based upon the scores given to "staff", "cleaning", etc. 4) revise guests' scoring process to make it clearer - each topic should be better explained to avoid quick / no scores (if a guest forgets to assign a score, this comes to zero and he/she will not amend it at all)

To be honest, since Booking.com has probably become the nr.1 player, they should feel the responsibility to ensure an extremely fair review process

+2
2 months ago
1
Flynns Inn Pty…

Good Afternoon All,

Just thought I would add to the existing discussion on the new guest review metrics that have been introduced by B.com.

As a small property that prides itself on 10/10 for what we offer, we are now faced with review scores sub 5.

The 6 metrics:

  1. Staff;
  2. Location;
  3. Comfort;
  4. Cleanliness;
  5. Facilities;
  6. Value for money;

These metrics from what I can understand mean little now and it's an overall guest experience that determines the final property score. You can score 10/10 for all of the above and still end up at 8. Or you can average 8 overall and end up with a 5.

We are concerned as the property score is determined by 1 value, and if your guest at no fault of the property has had a bad day when the review email hits their email, or had a *** drive back home and scores your property poorly then bad luck, your efforts in achieving high scores for the 6 metrics was all for nothing.

I feel this needs to be changed and changed as soon as possible. it's an unfair system and in todays online world properties need to be represented in an accurate way.

Happy to be proven incorrect, or if you can add your experience I would love to hear it.

 

Thanks Heaps,

 

Ron 

+6
2 months ago
1
Sunshine and W…

To those responding...thank you. I have no a clue as to whether or not Booking is aware of the concerns expressed, but..one can hope.

 

Gary Haupt

2 months ago
1
Rodger MacKenz…

Hi Sergei,

Can you give us more context around this section

"You may have seen your fellow partners mention this problem in the Community. Many of you have expressed support for the idea of saving these reviews from expiring. "

Because I'm not sure where these posts have been or how this support has been expressed. From looking at the forum, there's far more posts from partners about the unfair update to the review system and just wondering how/why BDC makes a decision on whats important to partners.

+3
2 months ago
1
Residência Mat…

I fully agree with you!

The rating and the review systems are going the wrong way!

On top of everything you said I would add:

1. the length of the staying should be part of the rating system. It makes no sense that the rating of someone staying only the night has the same kind of weight of someone staying longer, let's say, for a week. 

2. people who book single nights, one after the other, but with different bookings, should only be allowed to review and rate once, not as it works now. 

3. anonymous ratings and reviews should not be allowed!

last year we had a very "difficult guest" that refused to pay part of his expenses,  we reported him to booking as bad guest. He gave us a bad review and a bad review and a poor rating anonymously. Booking didn't no remove the review and did not accept our reply, claiming under their policy individual references are not allowed.

It's absurd! 

Really, it's difficult  to understand what is the rational of the new rating system from Booking...  

+2
2 months ago
1
Rodger MacKenz…

We really feel for you Residencia as we've been in a similar situation.

We've had people leave faeces on the wall, damage property and leave defamatory reviews which we've had evidence of and BDC hasn't taken any steps to remove these.

We've been called a 'black' motel which we brought to BDC attention, they did absolutely nothing about which is disgraceful given that we're an actively diverse company. 

There is another Alpine View Motel and if we get left a 3 star anonymous review, we have no way of being able to ascertain that guest actually stayed at our property or not

All we get told to do is to leave 'feedback' on the review page which goes no where to people who don't care/listen. It's very frustrating. 

+3
2 months ago
3
Désirée van Schaick

Sergei, could you please take the time to answer questions? We all want to know what is going on and what Booking is going to do about this. If you want confirmation of the fact that the new rating system causes problems, ask your customer support how many complaints they get every day. 

+5
2 months ago
1
Casa Giada B&B

Reviews can be real blackmail. As a host I try to give my best for the comfort and well-being of the guest, but if the guest behaves rude and disrespectful of my rules, after having always tolerated many of his misconduct always with a smile on my mouth, I allow myself to contest something I may risk having a low score from this guest and negative comment for personal revenge. This has happened to me lately, that two guests arrive with a dog without telling me about it when they booked, and they pretend to keep it in their room all the time of their stay. In the end I agree to have their dog with them after my few and timid but very kind attempts to keep the dog out of the house, in the garden as established by my regulations. On their last day of their stay I find that their dog had damaged the carpet and furniture of the room where they were staying, I discover large indelible stains on the sheets, on the covers of the pillows and towels in the bathroom, and a strong dog smell in the room. Very kindly I point this out to them, but in response I only get self-defense reactions denying it all. The next day I receive a very low score from them in Booking while the average of my score received from my guests in three years of B&B activity has always been at the maximum, that is 10. It is clear that their negative score was not made on a correct and just judgment but on their personal claim for having pointed out the damage they had caused me. But is it right that we must always be good and kind even fools to our guests even if they don't deserve it just because they have the blackmail weapon called review? Let's delete the reviews and find other ways to replace them or maybe have the possibility as hosts to do reviews on them too!

+1
2 months ago
1
Popa Andreea

Hello! Recently i hosted a couple who felt amazing at my apartment, and gave a 10 in all maters, but the average grade is 9... can anyone help me with an explanation? I will attach a screen shot of the evaluation. 

***

2 months ago
1
Sunshine and W…

I am given to wonder...why the cloak of silence from those responsible. I am seeing Sergi's name as overall manager...and not a word from him or any Booking.com person.

The signal is...Booking doesn't care..which is a shame, because the people that pay the bills (Hosts and owners) sure do.

 

Gary Haupt

2 months ago
1
Alison Brown

I am hoping that BDC are monitoring this post. We are also on the slippery slope with our score. Last year was our first year and we were so proud to have finished the season with an overall 9.9. This year we continue to get predominantly 10s but because of the phenomenon of people giving full marks for all of the sub categories, and a glowing review, then giving a 8 or 9 overall our score is dropping. We had a couple who were so enthusiastic about us and our house but left us an 8 because of location. They were travelling south to Toulouse on the A20 and didn't want to stay near the motorway so they chose to stay with us even though we were obviously further off their route than they would have liked. We are now on 9.7 and heading even lower with the new system. I worked out the scoring using the old system and we would have retained our 9.9 easily. Sort it out BDC.

+1
2 months ago
1
Alison Brown

A quick update on my previous post. I had another review this week where I got all 10s in the individual categories. I even got an extra two 10s for bed and coffee so that was eight 10s in all. They said everything was perfect and also left a glowing hand written report in the room. They gave an overall score of 9. I know there stay was marred by a poor experience in a local restaurant and can only think that this is what maybe influenced their overall score. I wrote a complaint to BDC highlighting how it is biased against those scores closer to 10 asI worked out if I get a 9 it takes 5 scores of 10 to get back to where I was. Two 9s and it takes ten 10s to get back, hence the downward spiral. I got the expected condescending reply that also mentioned using the 'share your feedback' button at the bottom of the review page which I have done and will continue to do. If we all keep hitting them they must do something.

1 month ago
1
BTT Serviced A…

I have the same Issue...... All 10`s and a total score of 9?

 

1 month ago
1
Sunshine and W…

This morning I got the downsizing letter. I am sorry for the staff that are going to be out of a job.

If BDC wants to survive, they had best be looking at how they conduct their Host reviews. Failure to respond to Hosts concerns will see a shift from BDC to other platforms.

+1
1 month ago
3
Villa Fonte Ta…

When guests rate 10 in the six categories and 10 for the overall rating, it still penalizes the host when they put a "nice" comment in the sad smily area or when they eroneously write their good review in this area.

I suggest that, when this is the case, i.e. 10 in the 6 caterogies and 10 overall rating, the sad smily option is automatically de-activated by Booking.com.  

 

+1
1 month ago
1
Villa Cassuto …

The crazy thing about it all is that we didn't start yet to blame, as we should by law, sue the guests and booking.com for "unfair" damage of the structures and respectability of the owners, for perjury

 

1 month ago
1
Flynns Inn Pty…

Hello All,

Booking.com invited me to join in their "Lounge" platform, at this stage looking through their topics of discussion/s it looks like b.com has no interest in changing or looking for ideas on their review system. Will update if there is any raised topics for discussion that tackle this subject. 

 

Cheers,

R

+1
1 month ago
3
Désirée van Schaick

I had a long talk with the support team; I called them because their replies on mail had just been generic messages and did not address the issues on the new review system that I pointed out.

The sliding bar for the overall experience has been replaced by a number system, which imo is better because less sensitive to mistakes. The lady told me they are working currently on making the subcategories a 0-10 scale as well, and also that those no longer automatically go to 7.5 if the overall experience rating is less then 10. Instead they just show 'unmarked'.

A suggestion I made is that the overall experience would no longer be the one and only rating for the property as it is highly subjective and emotional. Instead I suggested that the final rating would be an average of the subcategory ratings, which are more objectified, and the overall experience rating. The lady I talked to really liked that idea and she was going to forward it to the development team. Well, that's what she said anyway, let's cross our fingers and keep posting feedback and contacting support team.   

+2
1 month ago
3
Villa Fonte Ta…

Thank you Désirée. I wish B.com would take the time to provide such complete, specific and exhaustive answers to the hub's partners' concerns.

+1
1 month ago
1
Sunshine and W…

The only comment I will make, following Desiree's post, is that BDC doesn't put it in writing. A conversation with a person on the phone, while nice enough, in no way indicates an intent to address the issues. You all probably know the story...no paper trail? that convo never happened.

Put it in writing....

 

Gary Haupt

+1
1 month ago